FÁILTE Ireland last year spent €441,802 marketing and advertising the Government’s “misconceived” ‘stay and spend’ scheme.
That is according to figures provided by the tourism body to co-leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy.
‘Stay and Spend’ was introduced last October to boost hotels, bars and restaurants by offering tax relief on money spent in the sector.
It was initially expected to cost the State about €270m, based on total spending by some 2.15 million consumers of about €1bn.
However, the scheme flopped amid tightening Covid-19 restrictions that closed much of the hospitality sector during the three months of the operation of the scheme in 2020.
The latest figures provided by the Revenue Commissioners show that 49,765 receipts have been uploaded to the Revenue Receipts Tracker.
It said the expenditure on the receipts amounted to just over €8m and, assuming all such expenditure is claimed and qualifies in full for tax relief, the potential tax cost is approximately €1.6m.
Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said the scheme was “misconceived” and a voucher given to every household would have been better.
Covid-19 has brought “carnage” to the tourism and hospitality sector, but a recovery in jobs, visitor numbers and revenue is possible by 2025, according to a tourism revival plan published by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC).
Up until late January Terry O’Toole was fielding a trickle of enquiries from Irish holidaymakers happy to settle for another summer at home in one of the cottages he manages in the scenic west coast region of Connemara.